Comparing Jeff Bezos’ new house with luxury properties in HK

February 20, 2020 13:36
The Peak, the neighborhood surrounding Victoria Peak, has some of the most expensive properties in Hong Kong. Photo: Reuters

Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos just spent US$165 million to buy the most expensive property in Los Angeles, the Warner Estate, from billionaire David Geffen.

The Warner Estate was built by Warner Bros co-founder and former president Jack Warner in 1937, and is considered a piece of Hollywood history.

Bezos seems to have a thing for properties. He’s buying a new one almost every few months, much like a collector of luxury homes.

The richest man in the world is ranked the 28th largest landowner in the United States by The Land Report: The Magazine of the American Landowner. The new estate would add to his portfolio of mansions in New York, Seattle, Texas and several other places.

Bezos handed over a 4 percent stake of Amazon worth around US$42 billion to his ex-wife MacKenzie when they divorced in July last year. But the arrangement for his properties has not been disclosed.

The Beverly Hills estate took 11 years to construct. The Warner Estate covers nine acres, with swimming pools, a tennis court and a nine-hole golf course. It even has a motor court with gas pumps and garage, given that car racing used to be a status symbol in the US in the 1920s.

Geffen, the music and movie tycoon, bought the estate from the Warner family for US$47.5 million in 1990. The property has appreciated around 250 percent over the last three decades, equivalent to an annual growth of 4.2 percent.

By contrast, the unit price of Taikoo Shing, a private residential development in Hong Kong, has soared nine times to HK$17,000 (US$2,187) from HK$1,800 per square feet over the period.

The Warner Estate has a total construction area of 20,000 square feet. The price of US$165 million is equivalent to a unit price of US$8,250 per square feet.

In 2015, China’s e-commerce tycoon Jack Ma splurged HK$1.5 billion to purchase a mansion in the Victoria Peak, the most expensive neighborhood in Hong Kong.

The property has 12,000 square feet of construction area. That means the unit price of Ma’s mansion cost almost double what Bezos paid for the Warner Estate.

The Peak is the neighborhood surrounding Victoria Peak, the highest point on Hong Kong Island. It’s the most exclusive neighborhood in the former British colony for celebrities, business magnates, and bankers for nearly a century.

In 2016, mainland Chinese property tycoon Chen Hongtian broke the record for the most expensive real estate in Hong Kong when he purchased a villa on the Peak for HK$2.1 billion.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 19

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist